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Death Event Holland, Samuel Lester in Montreal

Person Holland, Samuel Lester
Date 24 March 1795
Place Montreal
Country Lower Canada



Was killed in a duel in Montreal.
The tragical occurrence connected with the Holland Tree is much out of the ordinary run of events, it seems very like the plot of a sensation novel--a dark tale redolent with love, jealousy and revenge. Two men stood, some sixty years ago, in mortal combat, not under the Holland Tree, as it has generally been believed but near Windmill Point, Point St Charles, at Montreal, one of them Ensign Samuel Holland, of the 60th Regiment, the other was Capt Shoedde. The encounter, it was expected would be a deadly one in those duelling days blood alone could wipe out an insult. Old Major Holland, on bidding adieu to his son is reported to have said, "Samuel, my boy, here are weapons which my loved friend General Wolfe, presented me on the day of his death. Use them, to keep the old family name without stain."

'The duel originated from some, it was considered, unjustifiable suspicions on the part of Capt. Shoedde of his (Holland's) intimacy
with Mrs. Shoedde so palpably unfounded that young Holland applied to his father as to whether in honour he was bound to take notice of the matter. The Major replied by forwarding by post his pistols. Ensign Holland was mortally wounded at the first shot, but in his agony rose on his knees and levelled his pistol, aiming for Capt. Shoedde's heart, who received the ball in his arm laid over his breast.'

Mr. Holland was conveyed to the Merchants Coffee House, in the small lane, near the river side, called Capital street, where he expired in great pain. The battalion in which this gentleman served was at that time, commanded by Major Patrick Murray, a relative of the British General of Quebec fame, with whom I became very intimate in the years 1808 and 1809. Major Murray's account of the duel agreed with the general report prevalent in 1799 in Montreal. Murray thought that the challenge had been given by young Holland and not by Shoedde.


Lieutenant Samuel Lester Holland and Capt. Lewis Thomas Shoedde, both of the 60th Regt., were stationed in Montreal. On March 24, 1795, they fought a duel. Their quarrel may have begun over a card game, or Holland, aged 19, possibly flirted with Shoedde’s wife during a formal ball. Whatever the cause, Shoedde issued a challenge. They met at Point-au-Moulin-à-Vent (Windmill Point), where they were placed 10 paces apart. A coin was tossed, Shoedde won, and was allowed the first shot. He put a bullet through his opponent’s trunk, just under the ribs. Holland staggered, but managed to fire his own weapon, shattering his enemy’s right arm. Then he collapsed and was carried away to a nearby coffee house to die. Shoedde fled to the United States.